Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko to speak at Dole Institute of Politics at KU

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko opens the 12th annual meeting of the Southeast Europe Defense Ministerial in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oct. 22, 2007. Defense Dept. photo by Cherie A. Thurlby

The Dole Institute of Politics has announced that it will award the 2011 Dole Leadership Prize to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who was poisoned during a 2004 presidential campaign in the country amid protests that became known as the Orange Revolution.

Bill Lacy, the Dole Institute’s director, said the institute wanted to recognize the 20-year anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union with the prize.

The institute will host a program with Yushchenko, “The Fall of the Soviet Union: 20 Years Later with Viktor Yushchenko,” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Dole Institute. It is free and open to the public, and doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Yushchenko formed a broad-based democratic coalition to run against an increasingly corrupt administration, and eventually won the presidency despite attempts by Ukrainian courts to invalidate the elections and the poisoning attempt that left him disfigured.

“He’s being honored for the way that he stood up for democracy and really helped his country through a very difficult and tumultuous time,” Lacy said.

The prize, which comes with a $25,000 award, also has been given to former President George H.W. Bush, Polish activist Lech Walesa and U.S. Congressman John Lewis.

The leadership prize is part of a four-part series at the Dole Institute on the 20-year anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union. For a complete list of the Dole Institute’s fall 2011 programs, visit